If you’ve ever lost someone close to you, you’ll know what I mean.
The same is true with new technologies. I’ve often said that there are five types of technology (I’m sure I’ve blogged this before but I can’t find it atm):
1. Those that are just stupid and a waste of time.
2. Those that are solutions looking for a problem.
3. Those that are occasionally useful but if they were taken away from you, you would hardly notice.
4. Those that are so useful that if they were taken away from you, you would sorely miss them.
5. Those that are so important to you that if they were taken away, you would fight in the streets to get them back.
I’m sure you can all think of technology you’ve seen over the last decade which fit into each category.
While I was in Perth, for some reason I had real trouble connecting to Twitter from either my laptop (accessing the net via my 3 USB modem) or my mobile phone (also accessing the net via 3). And I missed it. A lot.
Until I was away, I hadn’t realized how much a part of my daily connectedness Twitter had become. Sure – I like Twitter. I have it running in the background for hours every day but not all day – I often turn it off to avoid distraction. Yet when it was “taken away” from me for three or four days, I found myself getting cranky and going into serious withdrawal symptoms. I was checking it every few minutes to see if 3 had sorted out their network issues. I even resorted to sending and receiving a few twits via sms, something I never do anymore.
It’s a sweet relief to be back at home now on my regular connection and have Twitter working seamlessly (or as seamlessly as it normally does with their regular issues) in the background.
However, if anyone asked me why it has become so important, I really couldn’t answer it logically. It’s not like I learn much of significance, although I do pick up a lot of late-breaking news from there. And it’s not like I primarily use it to keep in touch with friends or market my business or anything else. I have more of an emotional connection to it – it’s that same feeling of connectedness that I miss when I’m offline (not by choice) when I travel to places like Bundaberg… that disconcerting feeling that I’m not plugged in, that there is a conversation going on… and I’m not part of it. That I’m on the outside. That I’m in a cone of silence. And I hate it.
I’ve come up with a name for it. It’s not entirely original but it surprisingly only has a few thousand google results, so it’s as good as original. 😉 Kind of reminds me of when I started podcasting. There is that famous Doc Searls post where he can only find a few thousand google results for the word “podcast”.
Anyway, the term I’m using is “meta-conversation”. That’s what I was trying to refer to in my post from Perth the other night. This conversation that is emerging from the combination of all of the new tools, swirling around, popping up waves from time to time, taking on an emergent life of it’s own. You are part of it. But it is greater than you, greater than me, greater than any single conversation or person or even tool, technology or start-up. It’s the sum of all of our conversations, the sum of the 24×7 connectedness, the pulse of the new society, the hum of a billion brains working together to dream new dreams, plot new adventures, the drum-drum-drumming of a new emergent intelligence being born right under our noses.
I welcome you, Lord Meta-Conversation, to our little world and I hope you enjoy your stay here.